What separates high achievers from average achievers? I’m not talking about flash-in-the-pan high fliers, but the ones who actually go the distance and excel in their career or business venture(s). Is it simply down to natural talent? Luck? Education? Clearly, all these things can and often do make a significant contribution to your achievements, but none of them seem to hold the golden key.
Speaker and author, Jim Rohn, once said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” So what is it that they don’t teach you in educational institutions that could make all the difference?
This was one of many questions I put to the 75 business leaders, entrepreneurs, and senior executives during the research for my book, The Magic of Monday: A Fable about the Winning Formula for Career Success. As expected, the interviewees came up with a variety of responses; however, there were three habits or traits that unequivocally topped the list.
3) Number three was – “Focus”
At first, this seems a bit out of place, but the ability to focus, interviewees said, is one of the key differences between being active and being productive. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that activity equals productivity. High achievers have the ability to bring a tremendous amount of focus to whatever they are doing. They are focused on relentlessly executing the plans that will help them achieve their desired outcomes. They don’t just wish, they get out there and do!
2) Number two on the list was – “Engaging your passion”
You’ll struggle to find a high achiever, an enduring one, who isn’t passionate about what he or she does. There is a drive and a sense of purpose that keeps them hungry, energetic, and enthusiastic. Of course, we all have our bad days, but the difference between those who pick themselves up and then go on to perform at a high level and those who simply coast comes back to having a clear sense of purpose and passion.
1) Topping the list was – “Building Great Relationships”
This was much more than the ability to ‘get on’ with another person. It was about the ability to develop and maintain strong networks, the social dexterity to relate to people at all levels, the skills to communicate effectively, a gift for identifying and positioning unique talent around you, and the power to understand and know how to effectively and positively influence people.
Evidently, high achievers have a very clear understanding that they aren’t in a solo sport. Just consider Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, all of whom are high achievers and yet excel at building great relationships at all levels. They realise that success is about people. As one interviewee put it, “You’ve got to be able to work with people. You can’t just get to the top because you’re great. If you can’t take people with you, you’re going nowhere.”
So, what separates high achievers from average achievers? In short, high achievers are in the habit of building and maintaining great relationships and networks; they engage their sense of passion and purpose; and they have a ruthless focus.
Whether this currently describes you or not, the great thing about habits is that they can be acquired. Learn them, embed them, and you’ll certainly reap the rewards!
Here’s to maximising your true potential!